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3 Steps to Scripting a Memorable Nonprofit Video

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There’s a good reason why videos are increasingly popular. They’re easy to consume and they can be inexpensive to make. You can do a lot armed with just a smartphone. You don’t need an expensive crew, equipment, and studio to produce a decent-quality video.

Three Steps to Scripting a Memorable Nonprofit Video

We’ve all sat through do-it-yourself videos listening to speakers “uh” and “erm” their way along. The speaker seems lost and befuddled, wanders off into side-topics, gets distracted by the cat (or dog or kid) that comes into the room, and completely forgets their point.
Don’t be that person. Instead, follow these steps to script a memorable video.

Step 1: Grab Attention With a Powerful Title and Opening Sentence

You’ve only got a few seconds to lock in audience attention. Don’t waste this time. Hook your audience from the start. If you can’t communicate your message right away, nobody will bother watching the rest of your video.
Start with a powerful title that piques curiosity, then lure viewers in with an equally powerful opening sentence. Script the opening sentence to support your headline, then polish, polish, polish.


There are several free tools available to help. Here are two I particularly like.

  • Check out this article from HubSpot. It’s about email subject lines but you can use this approach to craft great video titles.
  • Use the free headline analyzer at to craft a memorable video title. (CoSchedule’s headline analyzer will also score it for search engine optimization (SEO) characteristics. This is useful if you plan to post this video on your website.) Aim for a score of at least 70.

Step 2: Close Out On a High Note

It’s counterintuitive, but next, write your closing. Script a sentence or two that recaps and reinforces your message. Include a call to action. Polish until it shines. This is what people will likely remember, so it’s worth the effort.


  • A call to action is the step you want your viewer to take. It may be to enroll in a workshop, donate generously, or volunteer. Whatever it is, make sure you clearly state that next step.
  • Don’t forget to include your or your organization’s name and contact information (name, website, email, and/or phone number).

Step 3: Fill in With One to Three Talking Points

Now develop the body of your script. Here’s where you tell your story.
Most videos are short (30-90 seconds) — just enough time to make a couple of points. You need to decide whether you want to dive into one point or skim lightly over two to three points. The more you have to say about any one topic, the fewer topics you should have.
Jot down a few five or six words for each bullet point. As you write, hone your message so that it is tightly focused. If there’s a specific example you want to use, note it. Write down specific numbers, words, or phrases you need to remember.


  • Tell a story. It can be about a client your organization helped, a problem you solved, or a goal you’ve achieved.
  • Worried about forgetting something? Keep your notes on your smartphone or on a pad nearby and refer to them if you need to when you’re recording.
  • A little humor can work, but it can be tricky to pull off. If you’re not a natural with humor, don’t force it. And if you are, avoid snark and irony. It may backfire if your audience is listening but not watching the video.

Do I Need a Videographer For a Memorable Video?

It depends. Some of the most effective videos I’ve seen were shot on smartphones with no set, script, or video team. They succeeded because the speaker was passionate about their topic and wanted to share that excitement with me, the viewer. Their energy shone through and pulled me in.
But there’s a good argument for paying a professional videographer. It takes a lot of pressure off you, especially if you’re not technically-inclined. A professional videographer will add polish to the final product in ways you probably can’t.
I’m all for paying a pro to do something I can’t do as well or when it would eat up my day. In the long run, a professional videographer can save you time, money, and a lot of frustration. They can be well worth the investment.

More Examples

If you want to see a wide range of videos, from polished to homemade on no budget, check out Indiegogo. It’s a fundraising site for everything from start-ups to nonprofits, and most projects include a video. Some are great, some are awful. Worth the look.
Oh, and don’t forget to lock the door to the room to keep pets and kids out while you’re recording your memorable video.

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